The life I’ve prayed for…

I grew up in a Christian home and knew God loved me and died on the cross to take my sins away. I grew up hearing Bible stories in Sunday school and going to Awana then youth group. It was just what we did. We prayed before dinner and memorized Bible verses for Awana. I talked about my faith often and had one of the most God fearing amazing women at my disposal to help me through my faith as a child. I was actually saved and baptized at about 7 years old, however, as I’ve grown and experienced both the hurt and joy life can bring I don’t think I truly knew what that meant to accept Jesus. I said the words but didn’t know what they meant. I did it more because that’s just what you did, it was part of the “motions” of leading a Christian life. It wasn’t because I was passionate and intentional about devoting anything and everything in my life to God and his will.

It wasn’t the Godly based fire burning inside of me like I saw in other Christians. And it was something I strived for. But Something was missing. A piece just wasn’t here to complete the puzzle. I continued on through my childhood/early teen years just going through the motions without ever truly finding my relationship with God it was a religion I walked into on Sunday/Wednesday and left as I walked out the door. I believed I have to be perfect in order for God to love me and let me into heaven one day…

As most know, at 12 years old my dad died and for about the next 5 years after that I lost a lot of loved ones and was on a rocky part of my Faith. After losing 6 people in 5 years I was angry. Angry at the world. Angry at God. I started to wonder if he truly loved me and had my best interest in mind. How could he by taking away so many people I loved? It wasn’t fair and it just didn’t make sense. How could I give everything to him and trust his will when he just keeps taking away?

That is until two years ago. We had started a new church about a year before and I went on converge, which is a young adult/college ministry at the new church. Converge is a trip for spring break that they pick a destination and we get to spend time with each other and God for the whole week just away from everything going on at home. I met a handful of people only 3 days before leaving for Virginia Beach and then took the very very long drive in a 15 passenger van with strangers who turned into friends. I confronted all the pain and tough years that week. I found myself, my happiness, and my relationship with God on the beach with 40+ people I hadn’t ever met before. I realized that God loved me despite my imperfections and sins. He won’t turn his back on me if I slip up. And he doesn’t hold the fact that I’m human and make human mistakes against me if I surrender all to him and ask him for forgiveness. Obviously it’s not condoning doing whatever you want, but it’s the understanding that in the flesh you’ll never not sin. But it’s the fact that we try everyday to be the best we can be and make conscious choices to do right by Gods word. I also had a boyfriend that was making me see life in a new way. That week I decided it was time for a change. It was time to take my religion and turn it into a relationship, to stop letting God carry our relationship and start holding up my end as well. Time to give God the relationship and time he deserves. I’ve contemplated getting Re baptized ever since. I know I don’t have to and that it I’m still going to heaven even if I don’t. But my boyfriend, now fiancé, also started to get into his faith more when I told him about converge and the life I hoped to have one day.

I came back on a faith based high and couldn’t wait to dive into my own life and make changes I knew I shoulda made a long time ago. I was determined to live a more intentional life and lead a Godly life. All in. Converge 2020 was right before the pandemic. I didn’t have much to “confront” this time. I was just there to enjoy the amazing views, work on my new growing relationship, and take things away that I could bring to my engagement and start the foundation of our marriage on stone instead of sand. It hit me the last night that the week had hit harder than I even noticed until then. My dad not being at my wedding was something I realized. That night is a whole other story and one I encourage you to go back into my blog and read. But moral of the story that night it hit me that he’d miss out on so much. I came home and was determined to turn that feeling into good. Into a path for Eric and I to lead as we looked on to our life together and our marriage.

Since then we’ve made it a priority to bring him into the center of our relationship and build that foundation for our marriage. He also decided this spring when it came up in church it was his time to get baptized after getting saved over a year ago. However, he was at first hesitant, getting up in front of people isn’t his thing. And that same Re baptism thought kept creeping into my mind. I hadn’t thought about it much until God told me “do it with him”. It will set his mind at ease having someone there next to him through it all and it’ll give you the opportunity to recommit to a life that isn’t just going through the motions. It’s a chance to do this together and only months away from the wedding you’ll start this marriage off on a step that I’d like no other and all’s us to grow closer together.

So for me I still wasn’t sure even after God clearly told me. I knew I didn’t have to do it, but I wanted to. Gods not going to send me away from heaven on my day if I don’t get Re baptized. So it’s more for me than it was for God. But it was also for my relationship with Eric. I knew it’d bring us closer in ways nothing else could.

Eric has been on this journey with me since that day two years ago and even before that. We’ve worked on this together and it gave me the push to recommit a more intentional life following God and we’ll soon be married. This is a step to bring us closer and set up our relationship with God both individually and as a couple to build on in our future. And that’s the future we get to start now.

So, on May 16, 2021 we both did it. We both got baptized. We did it together. From day one, we’ve both come so far. And I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of Eric than today watching him come up out of that water…I hope it brings us closer than anything else can and we don’t stop here. I pray that this is just the beginning of our already amazing life we’ve built. We’ve given our lives to God. His will be done…the life I’ve prayed for and wished for my whole life is just over the horizon…

For me, the Cross means comfort

Over the last year or so my planning, to-do list, overthinking mind has been seriously challenged. First, COVID-19. It’s no secret it did damage to a lot of people’s plans and goals. The world felt as though it just stopped. There was so much uncertainty. It was hard to decipher what was true and what was just being fed to us. For someone just trying to figure out the adult world and find my place, it definitely has presented its challenges on so many levels. Then, trying to plan a wedding in the middle of the pandemic. My fiancé and I had made the decision early on to not let it put a hold on our future together and would continue on planning as normal. We’d have the day we waited for and deserve and it’d be exactly how we wanted. We had actually initially planned on getting married in the summer of 2020, after talking we decided to save more and bump it a year before COVID was even a thing. I’m so glad we did now because who knows what would’ve happened. We also hope to buy a house instead of rent an apartment and throw money at something that essentially gets us nowhere. But we’re gonna have to jump through countless hoops just to get a mortgage. Not to mention I’m still putting myself through school while working as much as my schedule allows. And facing the end of my current form of financial aid. After this semester I lose it which basically covers all tuition, for the most part. So I have no idea on how I’m going to pay for the next two years of school.

Now I know this sounds like a laundry list of money issues that anybody can have. I have no doubt there’s people worse off. I count myself very lucky that I’m as fortunate as I am.

My outlook has sort of been it’s not great circumstances but it could be so much worse.

I’ve had school basically payed for up to this point. I’ve only had to take out one single loan. Which is a miracle to some and an aspect I feel blessed for. We’ve saved money while paying off our wedding as we go. Getting exactly what we want but keeping a modest budget. We’ve built up credit and put money away so we’ve got a decent shot at buying a home.

All of this to say one simple thing. It’s been a rough year for a lot of people. It’s easy to get discouraged and want to just throw in the towel. I’m about to hit the big moment that could set the scene for my future. My financial aid ends, we finish paying for a wedding, and hopefully buy a house. All within a few months. It’s like a financial climax in our story. It’s scary more days than not. All the what if’s and worst case scenarios creep into my mind constantly. I’m worried about how we’ll make ends meet and enter a marriage with the odds stacked against us.

Then I’m reminded that it’s in Gods control. He will provide to us what we’re meant to have. He will help us succeed. Obviously, if we’re not supposed to have it or it’s not in the cards for us God will take it away and still provide.

I’m part of a college/young adult ministry at my church and we meet every Tuesday during our semesters. It’s an amazing community that really loves God and wants to be there for each other.

We’ve been going through a series called Attitude of Graditude. With a whole host of unknowns in my life currently it’s hard to look at the good of what’s going on or be grateful for all I have. I’ve been so caught up in what could go wrong instead of focusing on what has went right to get us here. Last Tuesday, one of the interns talked about an attitude of gratitude toward the cross. Of course, as Christians we are thankful Jesus came to earth to die for us on the cross because that’s our door to heaven. But he talked of a deeper meaning.

We watched a clip of the depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion. I’ve seen similar videos before but that video, that night hit harder than ever before. I was sick to my stomach and it was hard to force myself to watch. Just to see what he went through for you and me. Even in all of this I’m juggling right now my problems seem so minuscule compared to that one video.

I wanted to tell myself your problems are nothing compared to what Jesus went through. The excruciating pain and suffering to pay for my sins. To cover the cost of my sins and allow me to return home with God one day. To allow me to see my loved ones that left this earth to soon. I then realized these problems may be small in the grand scheme of things but Jesus does care. His coming to die on that cross and die a criminals death shows me that he did it not because he had to but because he wanted to. He chose to sacrifice himself. He chose us. He cares. He cared enough to put himself on that cross. So he’s gotta care about all my problems even the little ones that seem irrelevant.

The speaker challenged us to really think about that video, what the cross means to us. My mind immediately went to town on what it means to me and pulled me in a million different directions. It’s hard to narrow it down. However, after almost a week of digesting all the feelings I finally found it.

The cross, to me, boils down to one single word. Comfort. I know no matter what I’ll be taken care of. I know that no matter the circumstance God will provide. I know that no matter what he will be there because he paid for my sins when he didn’t have to. He already has proven his dedication of taking care of us. I know that no matter what I can give it to God and he will give me a better life than I even deserve. The cross takes away my stress and anxiety about plans that don’t go right. It’s the comfort that I can be absolutely and fully myself and he’ll still love me. It’s the comfort that I can do all things I set my mind to with him. Its that one day I’ll meet him at the gates of heaven and not have to experience anymore pain, sadness, hatred, or suffering. Its the fact that he died on the cross for me, someone who deserves to suffer on a criminals cross. It’s that I never have to worry about anything for my whole life. Nothing. Not how I’ll pay for school. Not how or if we’ll buy a house. Not the wedding. Not COVID-19. Not politics and government. Not my career. Not finances. Nothing.

It’s not an easy concept for me to accept. I like to be independent and in control. My aunt even referred to it as living in my box and wanting everything to fit just perfect. Then if anything doesn’t fit in my box I struggle with that. But if this last year has taught me anything it’s that even when plans don’t follow my agenda (or fit in the box) I’m still taken care of.

I just recently have gotten invited to be part of the national honor society of collegiate scholars which opens up a huge door for more scholarships and less out of school debt. We’re chipping away at wedding stuff with only a handful of things to go and money still put away. And lastly, a house is still up in the air until we can see if we can even get a mortgage but we’ve got somewhere to stay until we get it figured out. We won’t be out on the street.

All of what I just listed is still up in the air and surrounded by unknowns. However, it’s better than it was even weeks ago. And I have faith that it’ll continue to work itself out just as it always has and get better. Even if this is it, the extent of our “luck streak” I know God will provide.

Over the last 6 months or so I have experienced mind-boggling peace, which is a foreign feeling to me. In all aspects of my life. I’ve had the reassurance that no matter what we will be just fine. Worst case scenario or exactly how we pictured. I’ve been able to let go. Sit back. And truly enjoy this time in my life I’ll never get back. Or in regards to the wedding nothing I’ll be able to experience again. I pray for anything and everything that troubles me everyday. I pray that God would take away whatever I’m dealing with and do his thing. That he takes away my worry, stress, and anxiety. And I’m here today to say he honors that and then I thank him for what he took and what he turned it into. My fiancé and I are about to jump feet first into the deep end. However, I have the comfort of knowing we will be just fine. God promises that. My goal is to show gratitude in all circumstances from here on out. It may not be how we planned or a clean road to get where we end up, but the only thing that matters is we lean on God, that cross, and each other. Through all circumstances.

This is the talk about the cross and I highly recommend listening to. It’ll convict you in ways you never imagined.

Take comfort in knowing God is there through all and for all.

Glorify God. Be real women.

In today’s society, we as women, are pushed in a way to believe we don’t “need” men. We have come too far in history to rely on them. We’ve fought too hard for “equal rights”. In other words “we can do anything men can do”…

However, I completely disagree with many of these feminist driven statements and not because of what they stand for, but instead of how they are said. And yes, this is coming from a woman who has usually chosen to be a part of a “man’s world” most of her life.

My career is considered a man’s world still. Construction company positions, even office work, is still typically held for men. That being said women are finding their place and even in the field. Not to mention my degree is in Construction Management and most (not all, but most) do not take kindly to taking orders from a woman in a higher position in a field they “don’t belong”. Their respect is virtually nonexistent in a lot of cases.

My hobbies revolve around bows, guns, camo, and fishing poles. Whether it be standing in a river, sitting in a tree stand, or chasing dogs through the woods, I’m typically right in the mix. Many may think I only do it because Eric does, but in all honesty I began at a younger age than even he did.

The thing is my Dad is the reason I do all of this. Why I’m comfortable “hanging with the guys”, didn’t matter what it was that he was doing. If we were interested and wanted to help or go with him he took us and taught us as he was taught. He raised us to be the boys he didn’t get.

So, with that being said, you’d think I’d be all for pushing women to do everything men can do and beyond. After all I’ve done that my whole life and will continue too. However, I see a few things wrong with how society view women these days.

First off, God didn’t make me a man. He made me a woman. Simple as that. I’m all for supporting other women in all of their endeavors, but He created Eve from Adam’s rib. Not the other way around. Without Adam, there wasn’t an Eve. God chose to create mankind that way for a reason. He gave us different characteristics then men, for reasons such as raising kids and running a household. Man or woman, we all have our instincts that kick in differently than the other gender.

“Man and woman are: equal in value, different in nature, and complementary in purpose.” – Peter Kreeft

Second, we are physically different. Sure women can go to the gym and out lift, run faster, or out bench men in the gym. But physically we still typically have limits that men can easily exceed. Men may be able to carry 100s of lbs a day, but who carries and births babies? We’re just stronger in different ways.

I suppose my point in all of this is that women are made to be women. Not to try and be a man. Our psychology and physiology are different, there’s no way around that. God made us to do the things that man COULDN’T. Not try and compete to do the things men already can do. I absolutely will pursue my career in a mans field, but not because “I can do it cause a man can do it”. Instead it will be to bring new, fresh ideas to job sites. To bring a new perspective and in all honesty just do what I love.

I will continue to hunt and fish and just “hang with the guys” not because I’m trying to prove anything. But just because I grew up doing it, it’s tradition, and it’s a lifestyle. My best memories have been and are made in the woods.

The idea isn’t to somehow rise above men, but to work at their side as God intended. To do what they can’t and they do what we can’t. God put Adam and Eve in that garden together for one another, to work together, to both contribute in their own unique ways. We are equal, not in society’s eyes, but in Gods eyes.

There is a post on Facebook I will share every year, because I couldn’t imagine any better way to put it…because there is a place for women in construction. There’s a place for women to welding. There’s a tree waiting for a woman to sit in just like the boys and a gun waiting to be held like a baby. There’s a little girl that needs to be shown she can do it too, just in her own way.

“Our generation is so busy trying to prove that women can do everything men can do, women are losing the unique qualities that set us apart. The God-given femininity & unique way our Creator designed us. Women weren’t created to do everything a man can do…. Women were created to do everything a man can’t do.

The lioness does not try to be the lion. She embraces her role as the lioness. She is powerful, strong, and nurturing. She does not mistake her meekness for weakness. The world needs more kind, compassionate, humble, faithful, persevering, confident, fierce, bold, pure, and tender-hearted women.”

This world needs to start focusing on supporting women for being women. Every emotional, complicated, overthinking, extravagant part. And most importantly we need to step back and be who God made us to be, partners and “helpmates” for men. Not competitors. I will ALWAYS encourage more women to get into the outdoors to hunt, fish, camp, hike whatever it may be. I will ALWAYS encourage them to have a little fun trying to catch a bigger fish than the guys and clean your own kill and drag it out. I will ALWAYS motivate someone get into the trades through school whether that be building trades, welding, wood working, or mechanical work. And it will ALWAYS be my goal to be an inspiration to future little girls to push our way onto construction sites. However I will also always push fellow women to remember to do all these things while embracing who we are instead of trying to be somebody we aren’t supposed to be. To bring our own spin to things. Shake up the “normal”. Let me tell you in construction I’ve gotten quite creative with things. I can do the same jobs, just might take me a little longer with lifting or take more trips, but you better believe I’ll get it done.

This doesn’t mean we let men walk all over us. It doesn’t mean we let men think they are superior simply because they’re men. It doesn’t mean we are less. And it doesn’t mean they have any room to say “you can’t cause you’re a girl”. Because they’re are things we can do that they can’t. There are things we are better at than they are.

Women are such amazing beings, stop trying to escape what makes us unique just to be a “worldly feminist” and just be a feminist by simply supporting other women for just being women. Be the woman who does need a man for certain things, and here’s a secret because we actually do. Embrace our womanly nature. Equality is a battle we will never win, because honestly we weren’t meant to be equal in Gods eyes. We don’t have to be equal to men to mean something and contribute to this world.

We do it in our own way and to the side of men. We need men and men need women. We compliment each other, we complete each other, and we even contradict each other. But that’s what makes the world turn. If men and women were the “same” as this world says we need to be there would be no room for new, different, overthought ideas for men’s brains to digest and use.

For decades women have gotten out in the world and kicked butt. Opportunities are endless. The sky is the limit. Strong women have paved a way for years to ensure women have a say in this world. Take advantage of that, as a women, because it’s your passion. Not because there’s something to prove. We’ve proved ourselves for years. Those years are over. Now, we do cause we want to, not cause we can.

Blessings in disguise

This year has admittedly had more bad than good. 2020 was such an exiting year to look forward too, who knew the start to a new decade could be so rough.

However, in a typical year you start to see social media flooded with “give thanks”, “Be thankful”, “Count your blessings”, etc. This year it may be hard. This world had expeienced so much hatred, sadness, fear, hardship, and deceit.

You may say, I lost my job due to Corona, which made us behind on our bills and we’re on the verge of losing our car or home. It’s almost winter, I have kids. We can’t be on the streets. How can I be thankful?

Or I’m still laid off due to the shutdown. My extra unemployement is running out and Christmas is coming. It’s already ruined.

Or the one that hits my local area…My business took a hit from the shutdown, and the whole building flooded from the 500-year flood. I’m a small business, it’s my life’s work and the dream I made a reality.

Or my family that lost their home and due to the shutdown, construction companies were 2 months behind already and can’t take on any work, so, we have nowhere to go, nowhere to stay and it’s getting cold. The tent or camper in our front yard just isn’t cutting it anymore.

There have got to be hundreds and hundreds of people thinking to themselves that they wish this year would just be over. That there’s nothing to be thankful for, and that there’s been absolutely nothing good that has happened this year.

Since March, I have to agree. This has not been a very fulfilling or fruitful year for the vast majority.

However, let me tell you how my year started. On Monday January 13, I got to meet my first little cousin on my mom’s side. Lincoln Hayes was a little bundle of perfection, and I was able to hold him the very night he was born. Within that same week on Saturday January 18, I got engaged to my best friend. After more than 3 years of dating we finally took the next step. Needless to say my family sure did have an exciting week, and seemed this year was going to be picture perfect.

The end of February I was able to go to a Garth Brooks concert with my future mother in law, one of the best nights of my 2020 for sure! A week later we had an engagement party and I’ll be honest the engagement still didn’t feel real…

In March I said goodbye to my teens and welcomed my 20’s with 60 amazing people in the mountains of Tennessee. Most of whom were strangers. I was able to go on spring break with them, and it was one of the best weeks I’ve had. Within days of us getting back quarantine happened.

You’d think after that day I’d say life was a horrible mess after that. Don’t get me wrong my life got tossed upside down with the rest of Michigan. I couldn’t go to work. My schooling went all online for the rest of the semester. I went stir crazy at home, so I started donating plasma again just to get me out of the house for a little while. I couldn’t get onto unemployment and figured I was just outta luck, which is not a good spot to be with bills and now a wedding to pay for.

However, even in the bad God continued to bless me. All of the off time gave me ample opportunity to basically plan our whole wedding. I made a good amount of money from plasma, the official wedding fund. I spent a lot of time just relaxing and watching netflix (sadly not FRIENDS cause it got taken off at the first of the year). Which is time I don’t usually get when working and/or in school. My professors all made the best of it and to the best of their abilities made it possible to still continue on and pass.

On the day I went back to work I finally recieved my unemployment check. Which was an extra boost to my bank account, that I wouldn’t of been able to achieve working that whole time. So even though I was bored more times than not, it helped my future of a wedding and saving to move out immensly. This in turn allowed us to save up even more money and pay off everything up to this point in our wedding. Blessing #1.

I talked to my boss and expressed interest in office work. First, to get experience in the management side. Second, to help divide the load knowing he needed it. So over the summer I did quite a bit of office work as well as my usual stuff. It pretty much rounds me off for a little bit of everything on a job applicaiton and my resume. Blessing #2.

Blessing #3 really has everything to do with so many wedding plans that God has just set in my lap. First, I found my wedding dress (the second day of being engaged, not intentionlly but when ya know ya know) the first place we went to, less that an hour, on sale, and first one I pulled off the rack. I have been reconnecting with my childhood best friend over the last few years, asked her to be my maid of honor and she accepted. Also, another best friend that I’ve only known two years, but has been a rock for me ever since, agreed to be my bridesmaid. I feel so honored these two ladies are standing next to me, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I struggled to find just the right song for me and Jason’s song for our dance, it just recently showed itself and couldn’t be any more perfect. Lastly, and probably something I’m most excited about, my grandpa is going to marry us. All of these parts of our wedding are a few of the moments I look forward to the most.

This summer we took our first round of engagement pictures and camped a lot. Making so many great memories and stories we will talk about for years to come. Also, lots of visits to Lincoln, who is growing like a weed.

On Septmber 18, I shot my very likely once in a lifetime bear. I still can’t put into words how I felt when I saw him laying there. Also, Eric was right next to me, and my uncle Buck (who has always been like a grandpa, even before my dad died) was my guide just like always and led me right to him.

Salmon fishing was a bust, but again memories I wouldn’t trade for the world. Duck season the same at this point with Wixom lake now being a creek. In october we took our second round of engagement pictures that I’m obsessed with. Eric shot not one but two stud bucks. One being his biggest to date. I registered for my last semester of my Associates at Ferris and applied for graduation.

I know that was a lot but stay with me…

All of this happened in 2020.

Some of the best moments in my life happened in the mess of 2020.

The flood in May, was devastating. But I’ve never seen communities come together like we did. I’ve never seen love and help for people you didn’t even know.

The 2 month quarantine was financially devastating for a lot of people. But I’ve never seen families pull together like some were forced to do. We don’t often sit at home all at once, all day, everyday by choice.

So much bad this year. But, my list of blessings are just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more. I actually write them down weekly so I can go back over all the good of the year.

I really didn’t think 2020 had a chance after we were in august and still so many bad things going on. But that’s just when my year started to look up again. If it hasn’t happened to you, it will. The year is not over yet, and it’s not over till that ball drops.

It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity, especially this year. It’s been tough on everyone, some more than others. But God is working in you one way or another. God taught me a lesson over this year. And it’s to give it to him, give it up. Just let it go. And he has blessed me in more ways than I can count or even claim to have done myself.

So as thanksgiving approaches, dig deep for those blessings to be thankful for. In the grand scheme of things this year sucked, but I bet if you look back you’ll find a few things. You may not feel like you’ve gotten those breaks or received those blessings, but think of it this way. You have what somebody else is praying for. You got the break somebody else is still waiting for. They are there. Don’t let them get buried underneath the bad 2020 mood. No matter how little…

2020 is a year most people will want to forget, but don’t write it off beacuse things happned and were out of your control. 2020 and the thoughts, memories, and blessings associated with it are what you made of it. 2020 isn’t over and can still hold it’s good times, make the best of what we have left.

I’ve been in ths spot where it just never seems to end. Life just keeps sucker punching you. But God will carry you through. One day you’ll look back on 2020 and wish you had the freetime with your kids or spouse again. No matter how crazy this year has been it’s still a year you’ll never get back. We can all agree we’re looking forward to 2021 and hope it’ll turn things around, but that’s not a guarantee either. These are the times that shape us depending on how we react. Either we let this year change us or we change this year. The blessings are there, you jsut have to blow away some of the 2020 smoke to find them.

Conquer the darkness

In the last few weeks our country has experienced so much unrest. Between one of the most important elections in our history, pointing fingers across party lines, and deciding who’s right and who’s wrong. The turmoil has turned neighbor against neighbor and own families against one other. We now sit almost a full week after the said, most important election in our history, and still no president. Nobody knows what to believe. Each side is pushing whatever they want to be heard, and the media just keeps adding fuel to the fire. Nobody knows how “America as we know it” will change with either candidate winning the presedential seat. There’s just so much out of our control.

Not to mention we’re on month 8 of what most people consider to be the year of the hunger games. Seems like anything and everything goes and we’re fighting to the death. Stocking up on everything from toilet paper to guns and ammo, ready for an apocalypse. Pretty gruesome huh…

However, luckily for me I know my God will see me through it and that gives me the faith to know I don’t have to fear what’s going on around me, or what the future holds for this world. I know when I lay my head down at night it’s in God’s control. From the first day the country started to lose it over the corona virus through this election and everything inbetween.

As Christians we are told to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, with no wavering or hesitation. When life is good and all is well it’s easy to do, but when times get tough it really tests our faith. Our human nature often sides with satan to create the mindset that we must be in control, God isn’t there to help, and he doesnt care.

This world needs us now more than ever to prove that he does care. He is here and he wants to help you. We are created in the image of God for a reason. We’re here on this earth as servants, to bring as many people to God as we can for as long as we’re here. We’re here to show others that God will come into your heart and take over your life, you just simply have to let him in. We’re here to show them that his mercy is unwavering and unconditional.

Jesus came to this earth to die for us, to cleanse us of our sins and he didn’t have to. He chose to, because he loves us. It’s times like these that we, as Christians, are an example to the world. A light in the darkness of what’s around us. We should be yelling the gospel from the rooftops. Praying for everyone, even if you don’t agree with recent decisions or beliefs. Loving others as he loves us. Lately, God has put it on my heart to be more open about my faith I believe it’s for a reason. In areas such as voting based on Biblical alignment, not candidates or party lines. Or where and why I stand on issues, and simply not giving into society because that’s what they deemed “acceptable”. Instead, I chose to stand by the word of God.

It’s hard to trust God as we should with so much uncertainty in the world, but I believe the corona virus, as well as anything else that Pandora’s box has opened, is God’s way of telling us to stop and examine what we’ve done to this world. What we’ve done to make it the way it is. Stop and think about your day to day life.

Do you pray everyday? Multiple times a day? Do you read your devotionals and/or Bible? Do you go to church every week? Do you talk to classmates/coworkers about God? Do you hide your faith? Do you blame Him for all of this hurt and pain the world is going through? I know I struggle with a lot of these quesitons, and don’t take part in near as much as I should. As a college student in my second year, I always have something on my mind whether it be school, working whenever I can, wedding planning, getting ready move out, hunting, and everyday life in general.

I will be the first to say my relationship with God is the first thing to suffer. It’s the first thing to get beat out of my busy schedule. I get so tied up thinking of my ” next”, whatever that may be, that I don’t stop and take care of my relationship with God in that moment. It’s so easy to fall out of rhythm. You tell yourself that one day won’t hurt. Then it’s two. Then it’s a week. Then you can’t remember the last time. God should take priority over all other things. No matter what they are or how important you think they are. Life gets busy and quick, but God doesn’t ever forget about you or push you off till tomorrow. It should go both ways.

I think it’s safe to say we were due for a wake up call. This country needs God back in our everyday life. He sure did give us time to think with 2 months of quarantine, nothing to do and nowhere to go.

We need to set aside time and spend the 30 minutes a day doing devotions and studying our bible. We need to pray without ceasing. We need to check in on each other. And then we need to leave it to God.

I was told at a farily young age that I would nevery die. That Jesus will come back in my lifetime. I never believed it becuase I was so young, but you’d have to be blind to not see what is brewing at the end of all of this chaos.

God is giving us the opportunnity to turn to him instead of away. To give everything to him and never look back. To use this time to teach others about the word and what Jesus did for us. To bring as many people as we can to know Christ and come to Heaven with us when it’s time. It’s a scary thought unless you know where you’re going, but to me it’s scarier to even think about what I’d have to face or go through if I stayed here.

So I challenge you with this. As much as satan wants you to micromanage your life around the what-if’s and fear sitting in you right now, throw it out. Give it to God. Focus your energy on him and he will not fail you. Christians have this amazing opportunity to spread the Bible like lightning bugs across a field on a summer night. A few of us may not make a huge difference, and our light can’t last forever. But, when we start getting jostled around we shine brighter and brighter as we all come together for the same cause.

This world is filled with darkness right now. Our government is full of deception and corruption, our citzens more divided than united. This is our time to shine. The end times are coming with more and more acceleration. Don’t waste what time we have worried about material things, they stay here. Spend time with what’s eternal and will last forever, maybe even help someone else find their eternity.

This election will end with a president you may or may not like, but God put him there. And we should pray for him and our country no matter the outcome. The corona virus will run it’s course, while God is watching over us. And we should pray for health and well being of our fellow Americans. There isn’t a single thing happening now that wasn’t meant to be. It’s hard to understand now, but God will reveal the plan in time.

In the meantime, armor up, and get ready to battle for our God. Satan may have had a good run, but his reign in this world needs to end. It’s time we take on the darkeness and spread the light.

Uniquely Me

As I sit next to the fire tonight by myself cause the guys decided to go fishing again, I decided to pull out one of my new books I’ve been dying to read by Lisa Bevere. For whatever reason I chose “Without Rival”.

The first chapter starts off by explaining that, as Christians, we don’t need to compete with others in God’s eyes. There are no rivals. However, that we’re not the same either. God doesn’t love us the same and he doesn’t see us as equal. Bevere defends these statements by simply saying “equal” implies love can be measured and “same” would mean we as Christians are replaceable.

She goes on to suggest instead of “equal” or “same” we are unique in God. Unique means prototype or only sample of….we are without rival. There has not and will not ever be another person like you.

“God uniquely created your DNA and knit your frame in secret so he could surprise the world. He authored how your heart expresses itself; he was the architect of your smile and melody of your voice; he made all of your features with the fondest thoughts of only you in mind. He celebrated along with your parents your first smile and watched with affection your first steps,” -Lisa Bevere

I’ve been extremely fortunate as I haven’t gotten caught up in the comparison game much in my life. Obviously, it happens and is inevitable, but for me personally, constantly trying to change myself to fit the mold everybody thought I should fit into hasn’t been a big issue..

Nonetheless, everyone faces it. In their own way and at different times in life. I find that I compare myself now more to others than I have at any point in my life. I’m at the point in life where kids my age are in the make it or break it stage in life. The time where everytime we turn around we have to ask if we’re doing it right or not. We’re getting married, having kids, buying houses, starting businesses, working up the corporate ladder, powering through college, whatever the case may be. The next handful of years are what set the stage for the rest of OUR lives and yet we are constantly looking to others for approval.

My comparison lately has been school. There are only a handful of women in my construction management program and I’m not gonna lie the guys are judge mental of us. We stick together and try to take the same classes and do homework together and stuff, but the guys still keep their distance.

Anyway, most of society (even in our own program) still sees us as incompetent in the trades or not good enough to work among to the guys, there’s added pressure. And for me pressure to prove myself to the world that I can make it in a mans world and pressure to not fall through the cracks and get the “woman aren’t made for construction” label proven right.

I put myself into comparison constantly. To both the guys and girls and it all comes down to proving that I’m good enough. That I belong there just as much as anyone else.

But let me tell you in the last two weeks my natural self has taken over. I keep telling myself I’ve got this. I’m gonna pass the class. I’m gonna get the job. I’m gonna succeed. That this is all so minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

Shooting a once in a lifetime bear, with hounds, boosted my confidence immensely. It’s the time of year I get to shine, where I get to show off a bit, and do the things that make me, well, me. The things that set me apart from everyone else, and not everyone else can do.

I spend my weekends hunting and fishing with Eric from the 1st of September to the 1st of January, and I love it. We create irreplaceable memories, and share the best times. And more times than not, it’s not just me and Eric. I get to create these timeless memories with all of my family in the fall, they turn out to be my favorite memories too.

After reading only one chapter of this book I’ve realized that in the end the memories are all that matter. We do what we love together and create memories that get passed down for generations. It doesn’t matter if most girls would rather shop or get their nails done and I spend my weekend shooting at birds. Or if one of the guys in class spent the weekend studying and I spent it on the river.

Everything that we compare ourselves to is earthly. The “things”. Jobs can be lost, things stolen, skills can deteriorate, and relationships can be ripped away, but you’ll never lose who you are.

So, for me. I’ll keep pounding those nails, laying that tile, studying for those tests, shooting those guns, killing those waterfowl/deer/bear, casting that line, wearing that camo, reading my bible, praying to my God. Because it’s who I am. It’s who I’ve always been and it’s who I’ll always be because God made me unique and in his image. Everything will fall into place just as it’s supposed to.

My life isn’t for everyone. And nobody else’s is for me. So do you. Do what is yours and make it your own. Don’t worry about the person next to you or even the person on TV. You’ll never be the same or at an equal spot with them. You’re two very different people created for two very different purposes. We’re all unique in God. There’s no playing field or bigger spot in heaven. We’ve all got our quarks that make us who we are.

“You are a daughter without rival carrying a light without equal equipped to fight a battle without rival—uniquely.”-Lisa Bevere

My God is greater than this virus

I have tried to refrain from sharing posts on social media about this coronavirus…I see no point in arguing on Facebook with somebody that you can’t and shouldn’t force to see things the way you do.

However, plenty of my friends have shared posts and comments over the last couple months. I’ve read some that make good points and other not so nice arguments with people that are close to one another.

I’ve looked at both sides. I’ve marinated my thoughts on one “side” vs the other because let’s be real America can’t just leave differences aside and stand together on something. There’s always division of sides.

Here’s what I see. Fear. Media induced fear. Neighbor turn against neighbor. Friend against friend. And even families turning on one another.

I won’t share my political affiliations. I won’t even share my stance on the many many topics surrounding the virus. However, I will share my faith.

When this first started it was terrifying. I was in Tennessee on spring break not knowing what we’d come home to. It was just chaos. At that point it was too soon to tell what all this really meant and what would happen in the months to come.

But if I’m honest, I don’t think I ever jumped on the bandwagon of fear. I was more scared that my schooling went of the train tracks and not being able to work, but I just don’t remember me ever being afraid of the virus itself.

I wasn’t afraid of getting it. Wasn’t afraid to continue on with life as normal. And I still feel that same way. As stated before I’m not going to go into why as far as what I’ve seen or heard because I believe both sides have fed us exactly what they want us to hear.

I’ve stated my opinion that 6 weeks later I’m ready to move on. I’m tired of living “in fear” and if others chose to well that’s their choice but I’m tired of being bullied into feeling bad for taking this stance. I won’t be bullied into being seen as a criminal for driving to town to donate plasma (which saves lives but nobody knows that I’m going there or cares cause you’re “supposed” to be confined to your house).

I 100% believe if it’s my time to go then it’s my time to go. I have a better life waiting for me in heaven. Whether it be I’m hit by a bus, die from the virus, or just drop dead. I 100% believe that if God has it in my plan to get the virus I will and if it’s in his plan for me not to then I won’t.

I believe that staying cooped up in the house isn’t going to help anything, especially your immune system. We need the sun and we need the fresh air.

What we don’t need is bullying. We don’t need judgment. We don’t need name calling. We don’t need finger pointing.

Which is exactly what I’ve watched unfold on Facebook. I’ve had civil conversations. I’ve had less than civil conversations. All with people I genuinely enjoy keeping in touch with on Facebook. All with people I consider friends or family.

I’m not naive and I do know this virus is real. I know it’s out there and I know it’s spreading. But I also know the media gets their hands on something and run with it.

It’s each individuals choice how we respond to the media coverage. How it impacts you. How you decide to use it for your life. However, it is up to EACH INDIVIDUAL. Not your neighbor, not your friend, not your cousin, not your sister.

I have chosen to not be afraid. And let me clarify, I can live my life without fear and still be smart about things. It is possible. I can go to the store and use hand sanitizer as I walk out. I can keep my distance from someone in line.

However, the mass hysteria that this world has encountered is not something I’m going to take part of.

I understand people are dying and that is horrible, but people die everyday and will continue. It is a fact of life, and just because the death certificate says COVID1-19 doesn’t make their life anymore important than someone who dies in a car accident. I understand people are suffering on breathing tubes and hooked up to machines, and I believe the pain is unimaginable but people who suffer from domestic violence and mental illness suffer as well and will continue to everyday.

This country has a hierarchy of importance. And right now the top of that pyramid is COVID-19 patients either in the hospital or that have died, we don’t even acknowledge those that have survived and fought with every fiber in their body to overcome it!

God tells us to love all. Love as he loves us and love our neighbors as ourselves. This means we think and care for children’s missing meals because they rely on school food, college students ready to drop out because online is too much, domestic violence victims all bruised up, single parents who can’t get unemployment and are laid off work, nurses and doctors fighting on the front lines watching these people die everyday, people infected with the virus fighting for their lives, people who have died from the virus, people who die for reasons other than the virus. ALL PEOPLE.

To some I will come off as heartless, selfish, and self-centered, but I’ll set the record straight now I simply care about more than just the people with the corona label.

My God is stronger than this virus. He will carry me through. If I get the virus and it’s my time to go then I have pearly gates to walk through and it’s my time. If not then God has more for me to do down here.

I’m not living in fear. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the virus and everything to do with my faith. I trust God with my life. Virus or not. And this virus isn’t going to get in my way. Satan wants me to live in fear. And I won’t give into him. It’s as simple as that.

Just call me Elijah, waiting for a fire and almost missing the breeze.

One of my favorite things to do is get out my notebooks from over the years or blog posts after I started writing and reread them. Try to put myself in the shoes of who I was then. What I was trying to get through at that time. Some of them I remember like yesterday, the big victories. The truly inspiring moments, but others seem so minuscule and unnecessary now.

However, after a week fresh out of converge 2020 my mind has changed on how I see those otherwise minuscule moments I overlook when reading my entries.

Converge 2020 wasn’t life changing in the same ways it was last year. It wasn’t ugly crying at small group. Every. Single. Night. It wasn’t tearing my heart out and giving it to God. Honestly it wasn’t emotional until the very last night.

To nobody’s surprise one person in particular, Holly, got to all of us in her talk Thursday night. It’s as if she opened the window to the breeze for people who weren’t even aware for themselves what they were feeling subconsciously.

She talked of Elijah and how he ran. How he threw himself a pity party. And that’s a feeling I’ve have encountered wayyyy too many times in life. I’ve been there. I know why Elijah felt how he felt. Like God abandoned him. Like he was alone. He was disappointed that life didn’t turn out how he wanted it to.

So Holly had us right a statement and fill in our blank. I’m disappointed about ________. Without a second thought my blank was filled with my dad missing my wedding.

It’s something I thought I had accepted and even found alternate ways to include him still. Converge 2019 was when I faced all that mess and everything surrounding it. I was better. I am better. I’m stronger. I’m ok. I’m happy. I’m living and loving life.

Even that night at small group I was ok. I shared and moved on. But it wasn’t until “share night” that I lost it. I hadn’t planned on sharing because in my eyes my week was low-key. No new life. no big deal. However, God saw different. A few hours before programming I felt a sudden urge to write, and I knew it was downhill from there cause inevitably I’d feel God push me up to that mic in front of everyone to share.

So I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Until I had my still seemingly unimportant story. Nevertheless I gave in to the push and I shared. Guys, I read this over and over before hand. Yet it wasn’t until I got up there to share that it hit me as I read it. To hear myself say these words…

My dad will miss my wedding. My dad won’t walk me down the aisle. My dad will miss my daddy daughter dance. And tears started flowing before I even said it cause I knew the words were coming. My heart began to race and in that moment I was so glad I wrote it out or I would’ve been lost.

My point in sharing all of this goes back to Holly. She said one thing that will stick with me forever. Elijah was looking for another fire, and God came in a gentle breeze. She said if you only look for the big moments you’ll miss him in the little moments.

The moments that seem minuscule and unimportant. The ones you over look. The ones that I brush off when reading old written entries.

That’s what I expected this spring break. Nothing life changing. Just another week enjoying the gorgeous landscape of Tennessee. I had my “big fire” last year. Last converge I was still dealing with so much. I resolved so much. Faced even more. And committed to not living my life with those shackles. I was ready to take on the world and honestly I feel I did.

I grew in my relationship with God as opposed to a religion. I started Ferris state university. I graduated high school and college with a degree. I got engaged. My year was actually easy and enjoyable. For the first time since my dad died it was the truth. For the first time I truly felt changed unlike I always thought I had but never actually changed anything.

I came in to find more tools to take with me into marriage. To a fiancé who is new to his faith. To a new journey in my own faith. The things I conquered last year still have their place in me. They always will. But the difference is they don’t control me anymore.

One statement. One night. Not a week of growth. Not even a conversation. One simple statement was all it took to change my week. To realize that God is there to make me resilient when valleys come again.

My life is no longer dwelling on what I can’t change in the past only what I can do in the future and that’s what last week showed me. And if it wasn’t for that one statement I would’ve missed my gentle breeze breeze moment just like Elijah almost did.

Sometimes God makes big moves in life. There clear as day. But sometimes God just wants to remind you he’s there without stirring things up to much,and it’s clear as mud. He doesn’t always bring a fire that strikes a soaked alter. It could be the driving by a mountain, the sunset, or a very photogenic fish (just a few of my favorites from my trip).

Just remember. He sees the big picture. And all the moments matter. Big or small. In the words of a wise man who also went on converge…

“You see in years, he sees in generations”- Eric Tworek

20 in Tennessee

Today is my last day as a teenager. Tomorrow I turn 20 and for some reason when I woke up this morning my life “flashed before my eyes” for lack of better words. Not in a way that I’m lying on my death bed, but instead to see how far I’ve come in 20 years on this earth. The growth and the strength, the tears and laughs.

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I posted 2 years ago today that “you should be here” by Cole Swindell was playing and on the eve of my 18th birthday it really hit me hard that my dad wasn’t gonna be here to celebrate with me. Reading the post I felt the same emotions I did two years ago…

Even in just the 2 years since that post I’ve changed so much. Done with high school, half done with college with a degree, found someone to spend the rest of my life with.

The more life goes on and moves on the memories of my dad get more and more distant. To find pictures that I feel should be recent are now 8 years old. I’m no longer the pre-teen where my only worry was if I got to hunt that weekend. Now I’m an adult working through school, gaining experience in my career field, and engaged ready to start a life with my best friend. Each of these milestones has been bittersweet…because they all have one thing in common…he’s not here to see it…

I do know I couldn’t do it without my support team that’s there for every one of these moments. And no matter what God always finds a way to remind me my dad is there in that moment, in my heart, sharing every moment with me still.

My 19th year was actually one of the easier ones since I lost my dad, and I honestly feel an easier road ahead for my 20’s. There will be getting married to my best friend, finding a place to start our life together, finishing school and graduating with 3 degrees, getting a job, buying a house, having kids…so much to happen in the next 10 years that I can’t wait for.

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My 20th birthday will be spent on the mountains of Tennessee, with 53 others who love the Lord and never fail to lift my up. Even if it’s a tough pill to swallow that I’ll no longer be a teen and that again my dad will miss it, it’s just another thing on the list that he has and will miss in my life.

The next 10 years of my life will easily be the years that make my life what it is. Marriage, graduate school, house, career, kids. Converge (spring break with the church like now) a year ago changed my life in more than one way. I came out a new person. The things I had been fighting since my dad died were resolved, I confronted my pain, I decided it wasn’t how I was going to live my life anymore. I see now as I look back on the last year God has prepared me to walk into my 20’s with a better mindset, less pain, and ready to create a life with someone else. In a way it feels I’m leaving my childhood pain and suffering behind, and getting ready to start a new stage of my life.

It’s been a long road to get me to where I am now. The last 10 years of my life have been a roller coaster. But one thing has remained constant and that is my God. There through the good, there through the bad, and even the times that I pushed him away.

This birthday will be one for the books as I’m lucky enough to spend it in gorgeous Tennessee, but it also is the start of what I expect to be the best 10 years of my life.

Lean on your support system, Lean on God. This may be your time of heartache or God preparing you for your new chapter. Don’t take a single moment for granted, because the clock doesn’t stop for anyone.

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Just breathe…

For probably about 10ish years now I’ve had a tote that hold all of my “important” childhood keepsakes. Such as the blanket I carried around so much it’s just pieces crocheted back together or photo albums or my very first cast from when I was two. Going through the paper portion of my keepsakes I found a letter that I had written junior year to my senior self.

I was curious to see if anything still holds up so I took it out and read it. I began reading and almost immediately not a single thing is the same. Only one constant remains and that’s my boyfriend. Everything else has changed immensely since then.

I had written that senior year I’d wanna have a good start on college classes and continue pursuing a degree in wildlife and fisheries biology. My long term goals were to go to and graduate from Lake Superior state, work with the DNR, and create a life with my boyfriend.

Since then I went above and beyond even what I thought I was capable of as far as schooling. I graduated high school with over a 3.5 gpa, my MEMCA certificate, and an associates from Delta. And now I’ve transferred to Ferris and in this week I can officially say I completed my first semester as a bulldog.

Not only did my schooling plan change, for the better even, but my career path. I have now worked for a construction company for over a year and love it and just had an interview for a summer internship which I never expected.

Then there’s my boyfriend Eric. He’s been by my side through all of it. All of my crazy ideas and dreams. Supporting me through it all whichever road I take and how I get there.

The thing is in the here and now, especially being exam week, my life has been chaos for the last 16 weeks juggling school, work, 4 hunting seasons, fall salmon run, and a boyfriend. Sometimes I forget to step back and remember the reason I’m doing all of it.

It’s to give myself a life I can enjoy. That I can grow a family and continue the traditions and legacies my family and family friends have given me. That I can just stand still one day and be proud. That I can walk through those golden gates knowing I lived my best life and have no regrets. That I can sit back and just breathe.

After I graduate college, begin a successful career, buy a house, start a family one day I will be able to look back and see how days like these all came together to create an amazing life.

My life sure has changed even since I wrote this letter to myself junior year. Some things I wish I could change and others I wouldn’t change for the world. But I know no matter what I’m leading a life to be proud of.

As this Friday approaches, December 13th, it will be the 7th anniversary of my dads unexpected death. It will also be the official end of my first semester at Ferris during my first semester of my construction management program.

With all that I’ve listed that has happened I wish my dad was here to see every single second of it. Every. Single. One. But on the same day my dad died 7 years later I’m there. And by there I mean living a life I love. Living a life I’m proud of. Living my best life and one my dad is proud of. My heart aches even just thinking about what he’s missed and will miss. But that feeling soon turns to more fire within me. To drive me.

In 7 years it hasn’t gotten easier by any means. You just learn to continue on with life. Live a life you know they’d want you to. It’s ok to miss them. I lost 7 very important people in my life in the span of 7 years. I miss every. Single. One. Everyday.

I have home videos on my phone just so I can hear my dads voice when I need it. I have to listen to heartlands song “I loved her first” on replay some days. Sometimes they make me cry. Sometimes they make me laugh. But at the end of it all I take a deep breath. Look up to the sky and know that I’m there and they’re all in my heart with me everyday.

When it all seems too much and overwhelming. Take a deep breath. And remember the reason behind what you’re doing. It’s all part of a bigger plan. Whether it be a career change, school, or just another day at work. It shapes you into you. Just remember in the now may seem chaotic and impossible to get through one day you’ll look back and it’ll all come together. One day you’ll be able to sit back, take a deep breath, and simply take in the life you’ve created. Whether that be in 2 hours, 2 weeks, or two years. There’s something to be said about what you’ve accomplished up to this point.

There will be good times and bad times. But the bad times never stay forever and the good times always follow.